The playoffs in Central America have reached the latter stages, so here's a roundup on action down there. Who's playing Champions League football? Who's going up? Who's going down?
Police United will play Placencia Assassins in a two-leg final series to decide the winner of the newly revamped Belizean Premier League. Police defeated FC Belize 3-2 on aggregate (2-2 and 1-0) while Placencia downed Belize Defence Force 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw (0-0, 2-2). It's not going to matter for the Champions League, as CONCACAF have already excluded the Belizean champion from the competition due to the lack of a proper stadium.
Costa Rican football has been turned upside down in the Verano tournament. Santos de Guápiles defeated Saprissa 1-0 last night to even the semifinal series 1-1, which saw Santos advance on superior regular-season record. This afternoon Herediano defeated Pérez Zeledón 2-0 away to win the semifinal series 3-1 on aggregate. The first leg of the Verano final next weekend at Herediano, and the winner will advance to the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. Saprissa, despite the best regular-season record over both tournaments, will be shut out of the CCL for another season. Orión (ex-Brujas FC) finished bottom of the cumulative table and will drop to the Segunda División because they were bottom of the league in both short tournaments.
Águila won the Clausura tournament over Isidro Metapán 2-1 in the one-match final at Estadio Cuscatlán. It is their 15th national title. Águila, Metapán, and FAS will compete in the CCL next season. Vista Hermosa have been relegated to Segunda División after a seven-year stay in the top flight, which includes a Salvadoran championship in 2005.
The Guatemalan Liga Nacional is now in the quarterfinal stage of the Clausura tournament (both return legs are tonight). Municipal is playing Suchitepéquez (Suchi won the first leg 2-1) and Heredia is facing Xelajú MC (Heredia won the first leg 2-1). The winner of the Suchi-Municipal series meets Comunicaciones in one semifinal, and the survivor of Xelajú-Heredia plays Marquense in the other. The winner of the Clausura playoffs will join Municipal in next season's CONCACAF Champions League, unless Municipal repeat as champions in which case Comunicaciones would enter the competition. At the other end of the table, Zacapa and Juventud Retalteca descend to the second level (Primera División).
North and South will meet in the Honduran Clausura final as Olimpia faces Marathón. Olimpia routed the other San Pedro Sula powerhouse, Real España, by a 6-0 aggregate score (1-0 and 5-0), while Marathón prevailed over Motagua in a tight semifinal (0-0 and 2-0). Both teams finished in the top two of the aggregate table in Honduras and qualify for the 2012-13 CCL. At the other end of the table, Platense ended a 30 year stay in the top flight and will play next season in the Honduran second division.
Real Estelí and -- surprisingly -- Diriangén occupy the top two positions in the semifinal playoff group of the Clausura tournament with two matches to play. Diriangén lead UNAN Managua on goal difference, but Walter Ferretí lie on the bottom of the table and out of the running. Estelí have already wrapped up Nicaragua's lone CCL slot by having won the Apertura championship and finishing with the best regular-season record over both tournaments. Real Madriz have been relegated to the Nicaraguan Segunda, and Juventus will play a relegation playoff against second place in Segunda.
Panama's Clausura playoffs are now in the semifinal stage. Last night, Sporting San Miguelito lost 1-0 at home to Tauro in the opening leg of their semifinal series. Árabe Unido and Chepo open their semifinal series tonight. Chorrillo, the Apertura champions, will play in the 2012-13 CCL. Colón C-3, who were an expansion team organized two seasons ago, have been relegated to Segunda.